As someone so incredibly noted two weeks ago Chien-Ming Wang has been dealing with a sore foot. The foot problem has led to hip and leg problems, which in turn has given him a release point about as consistent as a Sammy Sosa’s English. Wang’s DL stint and rehab will be switching focus from arm stamina to a lower pitch count lower body strengthening program designed to help his legs and hips recover.
Not having his legs beneath him would go a long way in explaining Wang’s historically bad start to the year, and hopefully he can be back before the end of the month pitching like he is capable of.
In the meantime, Phil Hughes had a suberb start this week, striking out six in six innings against a very good Detroit offense. He allowed only one hit (a single) to Miguel Cabrera, Curtis Granderson and Magglio Ordonez combined, and only two hits total. His pitch Fx data for the game is here. There is a ton to be encouraged by, even if it is only one start. His pitches ranged from a high of 94 mph to a low of 73 mph, a pretty huge difference in speeds, and his fastball averaged 91.33 mph, which is just where it should be if he wants to have enough velocity to get it by hitters on occasion. The variation pitch to pitch is incredible, and it really looks like his time in AAA has been paying off.
Hughes even had some trouble getting his great curveball over the plate, it often was left high, but the break on it is so sharp that he was able to get away with it. If he can consistently throw his curve where he wants to Hughes’ arsenal is pretty tough to match.
He still has to prove he can be healthy for a full year, even though none of his injuries have actually been arm related, but a game like that one is exactly what everyone who has been following him in the minors knows he is capable of. It is yet to be determined if he will start tomorrow against Boston or be pushed back because of today’s rain out. Boston is probably an even more daunting game than his season debut, but I would love to see how he comes out of it. He could really push the Yankees to keep him in the majors with a good start.